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Five ways to pamper your pup to keep your pet and pocket happy

WE all love to pamper ourselves - and our pets - but did you know treating your pet to some TLC could help reduce your vet bills too?

That’s why Napo pet insurance has pulled together top tips on preventative pampering to tackle common pet problems (and save you money in the long-run too!)

Although they can’t make your pet accident proof, they can certainly help with preventable problems and avoidable veterinary bills.

Napo expert vet Dr Louisa Lane explains more

Pearly whites

Brushing your dog’s teeth might not give them that Hollywood smile but it will help reduce their risk of dental disease, present in 87% of dogs over three years old.

Plaque and tartar build-up can cause a dog’s teeth and gums to become infected, leading to irreversible damage, continuous pain and eventual extraction that could cost anywhere between £400 – £800 and possibly even more. What’s more, studies suggest that dental disease can be linked to early kidney failure through bacteria entering the blood and travelling to the kidneys and other internal organs.

But brushing your dog’s teeth with a pet-friendly toothpaste, ideally four times a week, can vastly reduce plaque build-up and slow the progression of dental disease. Not to mention keeping dreaded dog breath at bay.

You can combine frequent brushing with other methods, ideally those approved by the  Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). These include dental chews and toys, specially formulated foods with reduced sugar and abrasive textures, or water additives to keep teeth clean and healthy.

Because dental claims are so frequent, many pet policies don’t cover the costs at all. Napo, on the other hand, recognises dental disease as a major cause of vet visits and covers up to £1,000 a year.

Ear massage

Infection of the external ear canal – otitis externa – is one of the most common types of infections seen in dogs. But cleaning and massaging your dog’s ears routinely, especially those with long floppy ears, can help prevent painful ear infections and stop them from becoming an issue which needs veterinary help.

Some ear cleaners that are more effective than others, and certain dog breeds might require a specific tailored cleaning regime. In these cases, your vet can help guide you on what is best to help you with ear cleaning at home.

When cleaning your dog’s ears, examine the ear for any redness, discharge or odour, which may indicate infection. Damp cotton wool can clean the outside of the ears and a specialist ear cleaning solution can be inserted into the ears and lovingly massaged in to break down any build-up of wax or bacteria in the ear canal. Any excess can be wiped away with cotton wool too.

Your dog will no doubt give an almighty shake following this treatment so be sure to keep a towel handy and don’t be tempted to clean your dog’s ears with a cotton bud as this will force dirt, wax and bacteria deeper into the ear canal.

Doggy diet tips

Approximately 60 per cent of pet dogs are obese and, more often than not, owners are entirely unaware their dog has a problem. Don’t worry, we’re not about to promote the latest LA juice cleanse diet.

Portion control, based on your dog’s breed and weight, can be also be a great place to start in ensuring your dog is getting the fuel it needs without overeating. Hiding healthy treats around the house or garden is another way to give your pet an exercise boost and a snack between smaller meals.

Overweight dogs run into health problems such as arthritis and heart conditions so it’s worthwhile researching how much your dog should weigh and keeping tabs on their weight each month to spot any increase or decrease which could be a cause for concern

Pup Personal Training

A balanced diet, appropriate for your pet’s breed and life stage, will help keep your dog in good shape and their weight in check. But exercise is also key to a healthy, happy pooch so why not treat your pet to some personal training!

Whether it’s a country ramble or a jog around the block, some off-lead ‘zoomies’ or a game of fetch, your dog will love spending time with you and exercising at the same time.

If you’re short on time to walk your dog, hooking up with your local dog-walking community or platforms such as Borrow My Doggy can be a great way to make sure your dog is walked on time-poor days and your pampered pup might even get to meet some new pals.

Ticking along

Perhaps not the most glamourous of pampering points but regular flea and tick treatment will prevent these pesky parasites from feasting on your pet and invading your home.

Fleas in particular cause a problem due to the fact the eggs live in the house for months, which is why treatment all year round is recommended.

As well as fleas and ticks, dogs and cats can pick up a number of parasitic worms.

Regular worming treatment is vital to prevent infestation and kill off worms before they can mature and cause illness and internal damage.

Unfortunately to confuse us, there is a vast amount of parasite treatment being sold in supermarkets or even pet shops which are unlikely to be as effective as those that are veterinary approved.

So speak to a vet or veterinary nurse about a regime and product that best suits you and your pet.

Book in advance 

Vaccinations protect your pet from a number of contagious diseases that could otherwise cause serious illness or prove fatal to your furry friend so booking top ups or boosters in advance of when they’re due is the best way to ensure you don’t forget.

Your dog should receive two or three vaccinations as a puppy with yearly top up ‘booster’ vaccinations. If you miss a booster, you might have to start the original course of vaccines again, resulting in additional costs.

Keeping your dog’s vaccines up to date ensures they have the highest possible protection from some pretty scary diseases including Parvovirus and Leptospirosis.

We vaccinate routinely for other conditions such as Distemper which thankfully, due to our vaccinations, we do not see in this country. This goes to show what an important part of preventative pampering vaccinations truly are.

Though prevention is better than a cure, it’s the unfortunate truth that accidents can still happen. For unexpected vet bills, Napo pet insurance is on hand to make sure your costs are covered and that a trip to the vet doesn’t come with a hefty price tag.

For more expert insight and preventative care tips your dog and your debit card will thank you for, head to the Napo website.

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